“A once in a lifetime opportunity”- Manan Midha on his Erasmus+ experience in Toulouse, France

By Aoife Cooney

Posted: 30 January, 2023

UCD Msc International business student Manan Midha spoke to us about his amazing experience in Toulouse, France

How would you sum up Erasmus+ in a few words?  What feelings come to mind when you think about Erasmus+?

I will say that my experience as an Erasmus student was once in a lifetime opportunity and I feel lucky to take it. I get really nostalgic when I think about my Erasmus experience. I made a whole new family on that experience and whenever I think about my experience I get a smile on my face no matter how my day is going.

Tell us about your unique experience of the programme.

I wanted to share something. As an Indian national I did my bachelors in Indian, and in my second year, we all had to do some internships. I wanted some international exposure so applied for internships abroad and went to Bucharest, Romania I was the only student in my university who went for an international internship, and it was a big deal for everyone as it was very unusual for someone to go abroad for an internship in my city.

So, there I made so many friends from all over Europe and they told me about Erasmus, and I have never heard that word before. I said Erasmus what is it? I listen to students exchange stories and research about Erasmus and was so fascinated by that. I was sad that neither India nor my college have these opportunities. I wished that someday I could get a chance for student exchange,

See how life works in mysterious ways, after 2 years I decided to do my masters from Dublin, and out of the blue one day, I got an email from my college regarding an Erasmus opportunity in Toulouse in France. I did not give it much thought and accepted that opportunity. I went to Toulouse to study master’s in management for 3 months in Toulouse business school and had the time of my life. The professors and students were nice, and I learned a lot from them. I studied many interesting subjects and got the experience to pitch my idea for a start-up.

Before leaving I was really stressed that how would I live in a city where the food, language, and culture are so different from mine. My initial perception was that people will not like me as I don’t speak French but the thing that surprised me most is that everyone was so nice. Even though I did not know French everyone was helping me do small chores. Whether paying for groceries or reading a restaurant’s menu I felt nice. The students, staff at my university, and the Erasmus student network all helped me and made me feel at home. I remember I was on a call with my mother and was ordering a coffee and I said “un cappuccino, s’il vous plait” and my mom was so proud and shocked to hear that How come I’m speaking in French? This was a really happy day for me.

What has been the main takeaway (s) of your Erasmus+ experience?

  • No task or hurdle is large for you if you work hard, you will achieve it
  • You don’t know what life holds for you so say yes to new experience
  • Random people could turn out to be your family

You get ample opportunities in Erasmus and make numerous connections. For example, recently I participated in a competition organized by Alliance Française Dublin called “Pitch My Erasmus!”. I spoke about my experience and was selected as one of the winners


What advice would you give to students heading off on Erasmus+?

Life is a collection of moments. I know the process, the visas, and finding accommodation could be hard, but you will never know what you would be missing so if you do get this opportunity just say yes. I will assure you, you won’t regret it. I know going to a new country is difficult and it takes a brave person to say yes. Trust me, it will be worth it.

Is there anything you wish you had known in advance of your Erasmus+?

There are many student groups in every city you are going to so join those groups whether on Facebook or WhatsApp. I wished I had known more about the Erasmus student network so that I could have joined the group and made connections before even going because these connections help us a lot.



What was the key challenge(s)  for  Erasmus+?  What did it mean for you?  How did you overcome the challenge(s)?

The key challenge was to find accommodation as I was going to a city where I did not know the language or any person beforehand. I have heard stories of numerous scams so I didn’t want to get ripped off. But I started looking really hard and before finalizing any accommodation I used to email my host college and they would tell me that it is a real or a scam.

The second challenge was to make friends and for that, I joined the Erasmus student network and started attending their events. There I met many students and I made a lot of new friends. We went for an Indian dinner and hosted house parties. I got to know the culture of many countries and I learned it.


How can Erasmus+ be made even more green / more digital / more inclusive?

I think the Erasmus network is doing a lot of things to be more digital but there are many students who need a visa to study in a new country so as an Erasmus it would be easier if there is a medium to connect with past students who need a similar visa so that they can help us out.

Thank you so much to speaking to us, Manan! We loved hearing about your amazing experience!

More: Testimonials

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